Just ahead of Part Twenty-Four of our current Tale for Our Time, a reminder that we have an afternoon (North American Eastern Time) complement to our nocturnal audio adventures in the Tuesday edition of The Mark Steyn Show. Hope you'll want to check that out.
In tonight's episode of Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston and Julia get rather a shock:
The usual deep-lunged singing struck up from the yard below...
The birds sang, the proles sang. The Party did not sing. All round the world, in London and New York, in Africa and Brazil, and in the mysterious, forbidden lands beyond the frontiers, in the streets of Paris and Berlin, in the villages of the endless Russian plain, in the bazaars of China and Japan--everywhere stood the same solid unconquerable figure, made monstrous by work and childbearing, toiling from birth to death and still singing. Out of those mighty loins a race of conscious beings must one day come. You were the dead, theirs was the future. But you could share in that future if you kept alive the mind as they kept alive the body, and passed on the secret doctrine that two plus two make four.
'We are the dead,' he said.
'We are the dead,' echoed Julia dutifully.
'You are the dead,' said an iron voice behind them.
Is "We are the Dead" an evocation of John McCrae's famous poem? You can find that great piece here.
Derrek from Dubai, a week-old member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
This may have been discussed previously, but I do think Julia is a spy for the ThoughtPolice. Evidence is sketchy, of course, but this is my case.
1. When Winston first sees Julia during the Two Minutes Hate, he sees both O'Brien and Julia "together." Could she be receiving her assignment at that moment?
2. Her off-hand comments about being able to spot people that are out of place and that the big painting in their hiding place has "bugs in it." Foreshadowing?
3. They arrived at O'Brien's flat together, despite using two different routes. Even Winston himself said that their arriving together could not be explained if they had been questioned.
4. Finally, in their hiding place, Julia now has Winston reading the forbidden book aloud, sealing his fate. It's practically a confession right there, and she is conveniently quiet.
That's my case against Julia. I'd like to know if you all think I'm way off or spot on.
As an aside, do you think our current ThoughtPolice, Social Media, will turn Trump into their 'Goldstein?'
On that last point first, Derrek: If, as is rumored, Trump were to spend most of his time abroad at one of his many overseas properties, I think he would very quickly become a Goldstein across the water for the Dems and their media cheerleaders, the man to blame for every setback on Covid, climate change, the economy, etc.
Re Julia working for the other side: In truly great writing, not everything is certain - because life's like that. You think Doreen in Accounts is a good pal, and then someone says she's been badmouthing you to Personnel which is why you didn't get that promotion - and the truth is never quite known. So good writing should have its share of uncertainty, and life in a totalitarian state certainly has a huge amount of things about which one can never be certain. One of the most disturbing elements of life in twenty-first-century America is that certainty itself is now partisan. What seems pretty obviously Hunter Biden's laptop is nevertheless to half the country a Russian disinformation prop. If you point out that the contents of the laptop, at least with respect to porn and drugs, seem pretty consistent with Hunter's lifestyle, half the country responds that that just proves how sophisticated a disinformation campaign it is, and the only guys capable of something that good are the Kremlin.
So Winston, like most citizens of totalitarian states, can never be entirely certain of the ground beneath his feet..
Glad to have you with us, Derrek - and do prowl around the archive.
See you back here tomorrow for Part Twenty-Five of Nineteen Eighty-Four.